Use of 2 flu vaccines can resume after 'thorough review': MOH, HSA

Use of 2 flu vaccines can resume after 'thorough review': MOH, HSA

FILE PHOTO: A man gets an influenza vaccine at a branch of the Korea Association of Health Promotio
A man gets an influenza vaccine at a branch of the Korea Association of Health Promotion in Seoul on Oct 23, 2020. (File Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

SINGAPORE: The use of two influenza vaccines can resume as they have been assessed to be safe, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a joint media release on Saturday (Oct 31). 

This comes after a "thorough review" of information from South Korean health authorities, said MOH and HSA, adding that Singapore had also looked into the quality and safety profiles of the two vaccines.

Last week, MOH advised that the two vaccines - SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra - be "temporarily ceased" as a precautionary measure after deaths were reported in South Korea following the vaccinations.

READ: MOH advises temporarily ceasing use of 2 flu vaccines after deaths in South Korea

"Based on information released by the South Korean health authorities on Oct 29, the likelihood of a causal link between influenza vaccination and the deaths reported was determined to be low," said MOH and HSA. 

"South Korea’s investigations revealed that the causes of death for 71 of the 72 deaths reported were highly likely due to underlying diseases, while the remaining case is pending investigations," they added. 

"The South Korean health authorities also found that no vaccine from any particular manufacturer was associated with higher rates of reported deaths than the others."

NO SAFETY, QUALITY CONCERNS WITH ALL FLU VACCINES 

Singapore authorities said that to date, there are no safety and quality concerns with all influenza vaccines available in Singapore for the Northern Hemisphere 2020-2021 influenza season - namely Fluarix Tetra, Influvac Tetra, SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra.

"HSA has reviewed the local adverse event reports as well as global safety data of SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra vaccines," said the joint release. 

"The reported adverse events for the two vaccines are consistent with the known safety profile of influenza vaccines."

READ: South Korea pharma Celltrion's COVID-19 test gets US emergency use authorisation

HSA has also reviewed the test reports of all batches of the two vaccines supplied in Singapore and found that they meet the quality standards. 

"Like any medicine, vaccines can have side effects," said the authorities, adding that the side effects are generally mild and resolve on their own.

Common side effects from influenza vaccination may include soreness and redness at the injection site, fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and nausea. 

In rare instances, a person may experience high fever or allergic reactions such as breathing difficulty, wheezing and swelling around the eyes. Immediate medical attention should be sought in such cases.

MOH and HSA added that they will continue to watch for any concerns related to influenza vaccination.

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Source: CNA/ad(gs)

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